Dexter Review: Take It!

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The latest episode of Dexter relied on a couple of significant plot holes to move the season's story along:

1. Are we really meant to believe Lumen would somehow still have her cell phone? That her abductors wouldn't have taken/destroyed it when they first captured her?

2. Considering how careful Dexter typically is when it comes to his kill rooms, there were multiple ways in which he and Lumen would have been caught on "Take It." Chase sprinted through a hotel with security cameras in his pursuit of the latter. He also broke down the door that connected his room with Dexter's.

Lumen Photo

I'd be willing to overlook these developments if they contributed to an especially tense hour, but we're more than halfway through this season and I continue to be disappointed, mostly due to the presence of Lumen.

I'm curious to hear what readers think of this character... because I can't get remotely invested in her. It's partly due to the performance of Julia Stiles.

This actress doesn't specialize in subtlety, typically overacting and making me feel like she has no business sharing a screen with Michael C. Hall. It's a major reason why I can't buy into the characters' supposed bond.

I want to get into the concept that Lumen is the first person around whom Dexter has truly been himself, I really do. But I would rather have seen Dexter on his own this season, dealing with Rita's death by either going on a major killing spree or distancing himself as much as possible from his Dark Passenger out of guilt.

My favorite scene of the episode, by far, was when Jordan called Dexter on to the stage and forced him to talk about Rita's death. Was he just pretending to have trouble with it? Is he really still struggling with what happened? I would love to see more of this.

I know Dexter's relationship with Lumen is based on his desire to help her in a way in which he couldn't help Rita - but it's just not a direction I'm satisfied with.

To end this review on a positive note, though, the final scene was intriguing. Sure, there's a fear that this Quinn/Liddy storyline too closely resembles season two with Doakes learning just what Dexter is, but at least seeing Liddy get this close to the truth raises the stakes a whole lot. I'll also give nothing but props to Peter Weller, who appears to be having a blast as Liddy.

As I say every week, Dexter's interactions with Lumen are not keeping me interested, so the more this serial killer's world tightens around him, the greater the chance for the kind of suspense I expect from this show.


Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (45 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


i agree wholeheartedly on your opinion on stile's acting - it's just not up to scratch on this character. the almost-sexual tension between the two characters is completely one sided - as dexter (hall) looked at her across the killing table in one of the scenes from 'take it', i felt it. but it was not in lumen.


I'm sorry but I completely agree with Matt. Dexter has been my favourite programme over the last four seasons, but this season has been appalling. The pace is slow, the script takes everyone for idiots - crassly explaining everything where once it would have subtly insinuated. I also completely fail to bond with Lumen - Stile's performance is lifeless, and feels diluted after having Miguel and Trinity precious seasons as the main guest stars. The jumping the shark plot devices, of which there are too many to go into, but tonight's 'body dumping' being inexplicably performed close to shore while Robocop sat on his bright green sportscar using a comedy scoobydoo lens (yes, I'm aware that some lenses have a long reach, but not in the dark!) was tonight's pick of the bunch. The script is really, really baggy right now. Lumen's questioning of Jordan Chase being implicated because 'he wasn't in the photo'? I mean think about that, it's just an incredibly dumb and heavy line. I'm frankly grinding my way through this series, if there is one thing keeping it afloat it's Peter Weller's sparkling performances. We need more of him. I'm not criticising for the sake of it, Dexter, particularly seasons 1 and 4 used to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The series is like being cheated on by a lover - it actually hurts. Oh dear...


I agree with the loop holes and this season is slow maybe because instead of 10epis this season has 13episodes...
Plus Julia Stiles is great as lumen but reading your reviews week by week makes me suspect that now.. maybe some other actress would
have explored it to next level.. still Julia stiles is good maybe not that great bx of the slower pace of the show.
Overall the whole epi was intriguing and captivating but that's the truth its more G-rated season of Dexter maybe they want to reach wider audiences..
I don't know whats the reason behind that, its about Rape but overall their isn't much Gore or bloody murders this time!


who is emily birch? first to be tormented? the original tormentor of the 5 friends (the sickness started somewhere)?
this idea of a group which dealt chaos on victims does not seem real to me... this season is so far fetched and YES it has many holes.
liddy should do well to stay alive. i'd like that liddy does not get too close and die.


Dexter isn't helping Lumen out of some guilt over not being able to help Rita. He's helping her in the hopes that he can be fixed, too. He wasn't born the way he is and neither is she. If she can find redemption, perhaps Dexter can to. Is the ultimate act of selfish altruism.


Matt, just add a little more, I think Dexter is the kind of shows that meant for us to look at character developments (not unlike Buffy if you ever watched it) plus a bit of suspense in the mix. Yes the story lines could have been tighter but I'm enjoying the changes and the various facet of Dexter so much I dont care about minor things. Lumen is something that Dexter has never experienced before and a side that the writers havent explored. Someone who totally accepts who he is and still wants to be with him. The spoiler did say that the relationship did end unfortunatley, I guess it would be her getting killed in the course of Dexter/Lumen protecting their secret from Liddy/Quinn.


I agree with you on certain things. The season does have a slower pace compare to the other seasons. However, I give them credit for trying something different. Re Lumen, it's a shame you dont like Julia Stilts, she does have a tendency to slightly overact but she also has a very down-to-earth unpretentious kind of charm, you just know she is the type of girls who would never play games with you which is exactly what Dexter needs, unlike the arsonist in S3. Besides, Michael and Julia do seem to have pretty good on screen chemistry compare to Dexter's previous love interests. The way he looked at her when they talked about Owen shows that Dexter has already gotten quite attach to her. Overall, I do agree on the plotholes about the Hotel camera and door, not so much about the cellphone as it can be explained quite easily like get a new phone but have the same number, but the laziest plot I found is the accident that reveals all the drum victims. What are the chances of that. Anyhow, I still love the show, despite all of the above, Dexter is still way ahead of other shows.

Matt richenthal

@Emma: I appreciate the insightful comment. It's in-depth analysis such as that from readers that makes this job so fulfilling.


now you mention it the security camera in hotel issue is bugging me. it isn't completely inconceivable that: a. Cole had the cameras turned off either while chasing Lumen (he was planning to kill her after all, and he'd also have to explain busting through the door) or prior when bringing the woman back to his room for some kinky funtimes b. Jordan Chase will suppress the tape, if you think about it it would be nearly as sticky for him as Dexter, however this would entail him become aware of Dexter, and the previews for next episode suggest that happens next episode, although it might still tie in somehow c. the security cameras were on the fritz that day...


What do I think, Matt? I think you're full of shit.

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Dexter Season 5 Episode 8 Quotes

Dad once told me that some people deserve to die.


I've never been around so many people who made me feel normal. [Pause] Really normal.